POLITICS
01/04/2018 05:42 pm ET Updated Jan 04, 2018

Mercer Family Sides With Trump, Distances Itself From Steve Bannon

The family is reportedly considering dropping Bannon from his post overseeing Breitbart.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has apparently lost the support of billionaire Republican donor and longtime Donald Trump supporter Rebekah Mercer.

Mercer made her differences with Bannon clear in a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday.

“I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected,” Mercer said. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements.”

Those “recent actions” refer to a falling-out between Bannon and Trump that ignited when an excerpt from journalist Michael Wolff’s upcoming book on the Trump administration was published Wednesday. In the excerpt, Bannon is quoted as saying there’s “zero” chance Trump didn’t meet with Russian operatives during a June 2016 encounter at Trump Tower, which Bannon labeled “treasonous.” 

An unidentified associate told The New York Times the split between Bannon and the Mercer family was so acrimonious that they cut off funding for his personal security detail.

Per a Wall Street Journal report, the board of the far-right Breitbart News is also considering ousting Bannon from his position as executive chairman there. Mercer owns a minority stake in the website.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders encouraged the move during Thursday’s press briefing.

“I certainly think that it’s something they should look at and consider,” she said of Bannon’s potential dismissal.

Just two months ago, Mercer’s father, Robert, said he intended to sell his stake in Breitbart to his three daughters. In a statement at the time, he voiced support for Bannon, yet emphasized that the two had clear political differences and weren’t in “lockstep.”

“I have great respect for Mr. Bannon, and from time to time I do discuss politics with him,” Mercer said. “However, I make my own decisions with respect to whom I support politically. Those decisions do not always align with Mr. Bannon’s.”

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